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# Sumner Redstone

Random fact: Worked the snack bar at his father's drive-in movie theater as a child.

Overview

Redstone is a former executive chairman of CBS, the most watched television network in the U.S. He was also in control of media company Viacom until February 2016. Through National Amusements, he co-owns MovieTickets.com and operates Showcase and other cinema chains with more than 950 screens globally.

As of April 23, 2018:
Last change ()
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Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship United States
Age 94
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

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Net Worth Summary

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Biography

Birthdate: 5/27/1923
Family: Divorced, 2 children
Education: 1947, Harvard Law School, LLB 1944, President & Fellows of Harvard College, Bachelor's Degree

Sumner Redstone was born in 1923 to a linoleum salesman whose apartment in Boston's West End neighborhood had no toilet. His father ended up leaving the flooring business to own and manage restaurants, nightclubs and movie theaters, including the first drive-in in New York, where young Sumner worked the foodstand.

After attending the Boston Latin School, where he graduated first in his class, Redstone landed a scholarship to Harvard University, though he left the school during World War II to help decode intercepted Japanese messages for the U.S. military. After the war, he sold surplus army goods to help pay his way through law school. He moved to San Francisco in the 1950s, working as a court clerk by day and teaching law at night. He eventually took a job with the Department of Justice arguing tax cases, leaving in 1955 to join his father's company, Northern Theater Corporation, and taking a 95 percent pay cut along the way.

As head of his family's theater business, Redstone leveraged his background in law by bringing -- or threatening to bring -- legal action against those he felt infringed on his rights, including his victorious case against the major Hollywood studios for restraint of trade in 1958.

Redstone gained control of Viacom in 1987 with a $3.4 billion leveraged buyout, the first of four major acquisitions he would make in the years ahead. His most contentious battle was waged over Paramount Pictures, a deal that dragged on for more than year. He eventually landed the studio in 1994, after raising his initial offering price of $69 to $107. Five years later, he completed his biggest deal, buying CBS for $37.3 billion.

Twice divorced, Redstone spends most of his time in Beverly Hills. He relinquished his role as chairman of both Viacom and CBS to managers in February 2016. A daughter, Shari, who owns 20 percent of closely held investment company National Amusements, is expected to succeed him.

Milestones
  • 1947 Graduates from Harvard Law School.
  • 1954 Joins father's movie company, Northeast Theater Corporation.
  • 1979 Suffers third-degree burns almost half his body in a hotel fire.
  • 1987 Gains control of Viacom in a $3.4 billion leveraged buyout.
  • 1989 Citing antitrust behavior, files suit against Time Inc. for $2.4 billion.
  • 1994 Merges Viacom with Wayne Huizenga's Blockbuster video company.
  • 1994 After a protracted fight, acquires Paramount Pictures for $9.7 billion.
  • 1999 Viacom buys CBS for $37.3 billion.